Ben Thaler gets nod to referee England-New Zealand decider
Super League referee Ben Thaler will be in charge of Saturday's series decider between England and New Zealand at Wigan, the Rugby Football League has announced.
Thaler, 34, from Wakefield, who refereed both the Challenge Cup final and Grand Final in 2015, got the nod ahead of Australian Gerard Sutton from a three-man selection panel.
Sutton refereed Saturday's second Test in London, which the Kiwis won to level the series, after Thaler had been in charge of the opener in Hull.
A panel comprising the RF'Ls Steve Ganson, New Zealand national referee development officer Luke Watts and Frenchman Thierry Alibert made the decision after reviewing the performances of both men
"They determined that both had done an outstanding job and that Thaler would be the man in the middle for the decisive game whilst Sutton would be the video referee," said a spokesman.
England coach Steve McNamara said he would have been happy with either man.
"There were some small differences in interpretations, some slight changes to the ruck and the 10 metres from one week to the next but we had no preference," McNamara.
"It's not something that is game-changing. We just need to be aware of those minor differences."